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Smell the Magic

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Album Review

On 1991's Smell the Magic, L7 begins to find the sense of melody to complement its distorted punk guitar assault. The band deserves ultimate praise for writing from a completely female perspective at all times, and the fabulous "Fast and Frightening" just might be the ultimate "riot grrrl" anthem. "Shove" pleads the case for mosh pit etiquette, while "Just Like Me" demands equal rights (and vices) for male and female rock stars. The self-mocking "Broomstick" celebrates any "rock & roll hags" accusations with a sense of humor. "'Till the Wheels Fall Off" is another standout, thanks to its relentless descending riff, and points the way toward the band's breakthrough album, Bricks Are Heavy.

Customer Reviews

Whose a real square?

I love this album and have made many of my friends fans of it as well. Smell the Magic was my first introduction to indie music back when I was 14 years old and I was blown away. However, listening to this album many years later it still sounds fresh, fun and exhilirating. Nobody sings or plays harder than L7 and you'd have to be a real square not to see that!

This is thee one

This is L7's absolute best. I have listened to all of the other albums and, with the exception of S*itlist, none of their songs even come close to sounding as nasty as these ones. Filthy production. Polishing something that is supposed to sound mean, nasty and aggressive only waters it down.


I love this album and this group. These women proved that females can rock just as hard, play just as heavy (and way better in some cases) as men. The first time I ever heard of them was back in 1990 and they played this show that featured HOLE and HELMUT at Jabberjaw in L.A. It was fantastic. I was blown away by these women. ALL of these women. L7 is more Heavy Metal with a punk rock angst kind of energy. So NOT "riot grrrl". If you don't own this, then get it! Start off with this one, their debut album and then work your way forward. They have got to be the most heaviest girl band in history.


Formed: 1985 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Although often lumped in with the "Seattle Movement" of the early '90s (due to their sound, look, and attitude), the all-female punk band L7 originally hailed from Los Angeles. The seeds for L7 (whose name was taken from a slang term in the '50s that meant someone who was a "square") were planted in 1985, when a pair of guitarist/singers, Suzi Gardner and Donita Sparks, decided to start a band. Over the next few years, the group extended its lineup to include bassist Jennifer Finch and drummer Dee...
Full Bio